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talkingn a secure phone to the fema director and trying to organize it at the same time campaign.ning the really unique time to be in there and hear him in a really heated, you know, or serious conversation about what was andg on on the ground there how he wanted things to take place and organizing that. theon the other side of wall people are banging four more years, four more years. unique really, it's a time to be, any time you're behind the scenes with the president. times" staff photographer doug mills, sunday andt at 8:00 on c-span's q a. atnext, a closer look changes to government surveillance proposed by president obama. this is from today's washington it's about an hour.
>> as we continue to take a look president's speech yesterday on surveillance reforms, we're join at the desk by james branford the author and leading expert on the national security agency. mr. branford, as you look at the changes that the president announced yesterday, how drastic these and how much of these were more cosmetic reforms? think they were more cosmetic than dramatic. changes were pretty much required. there was really a need for him to take some action. so he did take some action, but wasn't very, you know, it lot of action in terms of the changes. and the problem was there was a of loopholes left in there, ambiguity, a of lot of things left to be decided by the director of national intelligence, the attorney
general, by different boards. opening. an what the details are going to that's what's important. these are sort of overall ideas we're going to do a little bit and a little bit of that, but then i'm going to leave it to a committee or a finalto make the decisions. and it was pretty much left up to the director of national intelligence, james crapper, and general.ney so sort of wait to be decided in terms of what it's really going to do. >> he talked about a of this, a little of that. out?did he leave what was noticeable in that it wasn't mentioned yesterday? >> there was quite a bit left out. one of the things that i think thea lot of the people in computer industry and so forth were disappointed about was the there was no mention really of changes in the system government was
data and computer weakening encryption. big problems the with the computer industry, is that there's enormous drop in people that are buying american encryption, technology because of the wary that there's a built-in door by n.s.a.. and the president really didn't dissuade that. the panel he formed made, i it was 46 recommendations, and really he only touched on a couple. aboutn't mention anything the zero day exploits. government the actually develops systems to computers. like are ways to get into programs like windows or google whatever. and exploit it, in other words
malware in there. there's actually a industry that's developed in the united zero day create these exploits. that, said nothing about even though the panel recommended restricting that practice. lot in the panel's even touch he didn't on, let alone approve. in --'ve read written several bikes on the n.s.a., served three years in the navy as an intelligence during the vietnam war. as you looked at those 46 recommendations that the panel gave the president, did anything leap out at you in terms of a issue that the president took from that panel and included in his speech yesterday? >> well, the most controversial metadata program, that, you know, that was the program the n.s.a. collects
everybody's telephone record, that's going to call into this show, there's going to be a record of that telephone kept by n.s.a., it's going to be kept for five years. grandmother in kansas calls her neighbor, there's a record of that. of the bigs one objections, the government, nobody asked me if they could collect my telephone records, nobody asked anybody. totalis was done in secrecy. so transparency was one of the a bit more there is of that. the president said basically to take ite going out of the hands of n.s.a., but he doesn'the said, say where it's going to go, that's left to be determined, going to do with it. it's going to be left with the foreign intelligence to issuence court warrants in order to, or what they call orders, in order to it.access to but the fisa court has not had a
objecting tord for the government when ever it wants something. i think 30 years it turned the down maybe twice or something. they wereow, cosmetic, that's about the best i can give you. >> you bring up the foreign court.gence surveillance here's a bit of the president in his own words talking about the tonges that he's looking make there. >> we will reform programs and procedures in place to provide greater transparency to our surveillance activities. and fortify the safeguards that protect the privacy of u.s. persons. since we began this review, including information being released today, we've declassified over 40 opinions foreignrs of the intelligence surveillance court. which provides judicial review of our most sensitive intelligence activities, including the section 702 program targeting foreign individuals overseas and the
section 215, at the phone metadata program. going forward i'm directing the director of national in consultation with the attorney general, to annually review for the purposes of declassification any future broadns of the court with privacy implicationings and to report to me and to congress on efforts. to ensure that the court hears a privacyrange of perspectives, i'm also calling theongress to authorize establishment of a panel of advocates from outside provide anto independent voice in significant cases before the foreign surveillance court. >> there the president is independentt an voice in significant cases. can you explain what he might that?y >> well, it's hard for me to significant case is, that's not exactly a legal term.
so i don't know what he means by that. that he should really appoint a person to be an advocate for, know, the people be eavesdropped on. that was one of the problems i were too that there men of these wishy washy words that could be determined later, determined either positively or negatively. is the deviliche is in the details, and i think that's what has to come. but there has to be transparency on these details to make a one-hour, 45 minute announcement like this, it sheds some light it but doesn't give you the nitty gritty, the details of how to work out. he said nothing, for example, about the recommendation to get court approval for national security letters. i mean, on and on. there were 46 recommendations,
he probably touched on less than dozen. >> we're talking with james banford, he's a national hereity writer and author, to answer your calls and take your comments. our phone lines are open, can call 202-585-3880. 202-585-3881. 202-585-3882. and if you're outside the u.s., 202-585-3883. mr. baninformation, right before on you said you were night withviews last folks overseas. can you talk about the reaction to this speech overseas as it so far? >> well, there was a lot of disappointment from the people i talked to. a sort of a, made the president sort of approved not to targettion
foreign leaders. specify which foreign leaders or whatever, just said partners. but that's not really that big a concern to the average citizens over there. there were something like pieces of data from french citizens that the n.s.a. month or something like that, so there was a there was a lot of worry that the nsa is going to keep doing what it is doing. the president did make a comment about having similar types of protections in terms of what they are looking for, terrorism and that kind of thing, not going after personal information. still, there was no discussion about restricting the amount of
collection, the amount of eavesdropping and so forth. i think that has them worried. there is a big concern here that the old clich? is "everybody spies," so i be concerned about us spying -- so why be concerned about us spying? "everybody spies," so i be concerned about us spying -- so why be concerned about us spying? those countries don't have the largest internet companies and their home base as we do. i having that accumulation of data corporations, the nsa has the ability to go -- by having the accumulation of data corporations, the nsa has the ability to go with a warrant and knock on the front door. what was really needed was a charge committee, a committee that was similar to the one that by themed in the mid-70s
head of the senate intelligence community. they lifted up every rock to see what was underwritten in the intelligence community and they came up with enormous numbers of recommendations am a lot of transparency into what had been going on. out is what is needed. -- that is what is needed. by putting the next step on congress, has the president opened the door for a committee like that to be formed? guest: it's possible. not need thedoes president's approval to form a committee like that. i think that was more passing the buck by the president. the problem is congress hasn't had a tremendous record on privacy over the last few years. more concerned
on giving the nsa what it wants rather than giving the civil liberties and privacy committee what it wants. it was more firm decisions by the president then this wishy- we'll form some committees. than this wishy-washy, "we'll committees." line forfirst is our democrats, seattle, washington. i want to talk about the nsa. their surveillance is -- it is
not so much the foreign countries, it is the people in this country that is going to be the next danger to our government. eventually -- the way they are treating the middle class and or, they are going to have enough of that. when they arrest somebody and forthem in incarceration investigation, they will pull every body's phone record to see who they have been talking to. my nephew works construction down here in tacoma, just south of seattle, towards the east. they are building large buildings that are in the hundreds of thousands of square feet. there are three stories tall
with no windows, no skylights, they are blank. they build these buildings, close them up, fence the minute, and they are not occupied at all. they just finished up a 280,000 foot square building and they are in the process of closing it up. aen they are going to start 600 80,000 square-foot building square-footfoo building. the people are going to have enough. it is just like what happened in turkey, when they closed down a park and people have enough. i think it is moving in that direction where the people are beginning to object to this. --started after 911 with after 9/11 with all the attention on counterterrorism
and all the restrictions and security and so forth. there was very little thought about civil liberties and privacy in those issues. now that we are a dozen years or so after 9/11, i think the momentum is starting to turn back to, let's get back to reality now. there are other issues in the world other than protecting us from terrorism. there is protecting us from the u.s. government, from their eavesdropping capabilities. , the nsa was focused externally. that is the way it is supposed to be. we don't use the army and navy domestically. they are designed for adversaries overseas. after 9/11 the nsa was turned inward, which is against its original organizing rules. it has been that way ever since.
dealnk there are a great of people in the united states that are beginning to worry about the nsa. i have been writing about for 30 years. i have seen momentum prior to the snowden revelations. there would have been to people in congress that would have voted to start restricting nsa activities. after his revelations, there were almost the majority. they are five votes short of the majority. i am seeing that progression of american citizens who are beginning to worry about all the surveillance. if you of your books on the subject, "the shadow secrets," tody of
name a few. has the nsa surveillance program uncovered any planned terrorist attack? just looking at the different programs, when the nsa came out they said there were 54 programs they helped stop and they keep reducing those. on the metadata program, which is the most controversy oprah program -- program,roversial there has only been one incident that they have been able to detect since 2001, and that was a person in san diego who sent $8,000 to a group in somalia and had nothing to do with united states. positiven't been any things that have come out of that metadata program. the other ones, the 53 other
part of awere different program, called the prison program. that is where they actually get court order to get access to data. of that is not as -- that is not as controversial. data program has been virtually useless but they still want to keep it go -- the metadata program has been virtually useless but they still want to keep it going. earlier you mentioned national security letters. can you explain what those are and what changes the president announced yesterday? guest: the national security letters, there are two ways of getting access to your information. one is going to record and showing you have probable cause and then the court will decide whether or not that is true and
the will issue a warrant to law enforcement organization, fbi or whatever, to get your records. the easier way is the national security letter. it does not involve going to a court. all it involves is having a letter written by the justice , pleasent, saying give this person access to all records. it eliminates the court from a role in the national security letters. the recommendation is to have national security letters go through the press system -- host: from the president's panel? guest: he apparently rejected the recommendation and left the security letters the way they are before.
there may have been some slight modifications, possibly. host: david is up next from portsmouth, ohio on our line for republicans. you are on with james alford. -- with james bamford. concern on surveillance for the country is i believe we should use all prakashan's -- all precautions to know what is going on around the world and even in our own country because i believe there is people in our own country that would like to destroy it. i believe we need to take all -- an order to maintain our freedom -- in order
to maintain our freedom from our enemies. i also think snowden has betrayed the united states. i don't think he is a hero. absolutely beuld shot as a traitor. from ohio bringing up edward snowden, the nsa leaker. your thoughts he e -- your thoughts? i believe he is a heroic whistleblower. there is no indication he is a traitor. he did not sell secrets to foreign governments for profit, he did not do any of that. he gave the documents from the nsa and gave them to journalist organizations. host: the pentagon papers? guest: yes, like the
whistleblower for the pentagon papers. journalists.to what is interesting is the president's comments yesterday -- one of the things the president said is, this debate will make us stronger. we would not be having this debate without edward snowden. if i was his- lawyer that is one of the first things i would tell the jury. how could you be charging this person as a traitor when the president himself said he has made the country stronger? didn't the president take credit for starting this debate before the leaks? guest: there was no debate before the leaks. i have been following this issue very closely. the nsa does what it wants. this is the first time since the
wiretapping scandal of the bush administration and before that, the scandals that involved the church committee -- led to the beenh committee, there has almost no pushback on nsa spying. with regards to the comments of -- of spying as much as possible in the u.s., that is the attitude used in the stasi. -- in the stasi period. protect the country because everybody may be a danger. so they eavesdropped on everybody's communications. and you can see where east germany went. you cannot have that in a country like this. there are certain dangers. safer way would be to have unannounced visits by the
week, searching for prohibited items or whatever. but who wants that? if you want safety on the highway we can reduce the speed .imit to 30 miles per hour but we don't do that because you have to accept some risk in a democracy the north have freedom -- in a democracy in order to have freedom. from twitter -- it was a secret until snowden came along. the taxpayers should know how much we are paying for the nsa. snowden revealed its and low and behold the country survived area host: what is -- survived. host: what is the range of the budget? nsa was $10 billion,
the cia was $15 billion. in recent years the cia budget increased above the nsa budget, largely because of the cost of drones, the drone warfare the cia is involved in. is a hefty amount of money that goes into electronic spying. to alan in sanford, maine on our line for independents. you are on with james bamford. i very much admire you. i would put you in the same in terms ofsnowden whistleblower. , enjoyed your original book which was the first real whistleblowing on the nsa.
in terms of secrecy, the overall aspects of secrecy in this country, i think what is occurring because of snowden's revelations is really just the tip of the iceberg. secrecytially have related to multiple segments of our society, the corporate, , whichal, militaristic would include the nsa and cia program, particularly with the drone program now, the media, which is a propaganda sector of the country, the extralegal sector, which is a violation of the constitutional legality, and the faux political segment of the operation. but i would not call the operation a country anymore.
it is an empire. togetherhis all falls and it makes eminent sense. but the revelations about nsa and the intelligence state, it is more than an and had intelligence -- then an intelligence state, it is a corporate state, a police state. disguised global empire. not that the united states is the only part of it, it is certainly the nominal and perhaps temporary headquarters of this disguised global empire. globaln empire that is in scope. i think that is why the american empire project, which was chomskywritten about by electives, itf
political -- as unpolitical to criticize the u.s. you can certainly look at it that way. the u.s. has been expanding around the world in terms of these secret wars, the drone wars, for example. only one drone attack in yemen in his eight years. the obama administration has turned this into a major secret war. is totally secret. it was very abusive. that backnot realize in december of 2009, when president obama had been in no
that had been in office for less than a year -- president obama had been in office for less than a year, it was done by cruise missiles loaded with cluster bombs. cluster bombs are outlawed in 109 countries because they're so devastating to civilian public -- to the civilian public. they missed their target, they got something like 50 women and children killed. and then the president lied about it. the president of yemen who authorized that terrorism attack. attack he called the president and congratulated him on it, when in fact it was the u.s. who did it. a lot of these revelations have come out by whistleblowers. that revelation had come out by when he chelsea manning released these documents.
it showed the meeting between general petraeus and the president of yemen. that is why people think this is becoming an empire. we are putting drones around the sendingd now we are nsa's eavesdropping capability around the world to gather information from countries all around the world. these people think we are getting back into the business of empire, the modern-day empire with drones and cyber warfare and eavesdropping rather than british version with great ships on the high seas. host: on twitter -- carl in georgia on our line for democrats.
james bamford, national security writer and author. caller: good morning. it has already been stated that -- hello? on the tv and go ahead with your questions. caller: thank you. the president is limited to what he could say. if you is definitive in every detail then there would be critics that would have something to say about that as well. i am not convinced that the nsa 's actions are minute. mr. bamford has indicated that in his 30 years about writing -- and his 30 years of writing about the nsa. because it is president obama, he is going to have back lash
with everything he said. when president bush was in, everybody was afraid to say something about that because of the patriot act and all the things that were implemented during that particular time. nobody dared to say anything. they were all silent. carl, do you think people are still afraid to say something at this point? i think they have an opportunity to speak out more than they have to ring president bush's term. they would single you out and now people can say something , despite the work of the government and what they have to do. we are more freer to say something. it is made more public now. host: do you agree with that assessment? guest: i do.
after 9/11 there was this jingoism. everybody had to salute the bush administration and nobody could criticize it. i remember fox news came out and everybody on air had to wear little flags on their lapel. there were a lot of people who againstimidated toaking out -- intimidated speak out against the government. intimidated against speaking out against the government. nobody wants to criticize the government because that is how these abuses eventually occur. i think it is much more healthy know where you are getting them a -- getting far more people who are criticizing what the government is doing. we showed of clip
president obama, he talked about declassifying more documents. do you think this will lead to more folks like yourself being able to write about the nsa, and how do you view the classification from your perspective and your past dealings trying to get the classified documents? hold my am not going to breath that there is going to be a lot of the classified -- a lot documents.fied measure, the any nsa does not release an awful lot of information. nsa stoodke was the for "no such agency." now it stands for "not secret anymore. i don't think there is going to
be -- "not secret anymore." i don't think there's going to be a lot of transparency. that will come from whistleblowers. host: we go to marshall in illinois on our line for republicans. america.ever serve it is refreshing to hear something neutral and honest. to quote rahm emanuel, let no crisis go to waste. couldn't we use this metadata to go after these telephone scam artists? use the metadata that should be use it to track down these people? on do not calld lists here in chicago. they have done symposiums on
this through the ftc, talking about how people are inundated even if you are on a do not call list. let me close my question with, hopefully you have this in one of your books -- close my question with -- hopefully you have this in one of your books -- and franklin said if we -- compromise up any of our liberty in the name of security than we deserve neither. thank you very much, i appreciate you reading my book. i have always admired that comment about having -- security versus freedom and so forth. if you want more security you lose the freedom. that is what happened in east germany with the stasi. they had no freedom.
the idea of the u.s. is to have a proper balance. i think that is why we are having this debate right now, to find out where that balances. in terms of using the metadata for other purposes, such as going after people who abuse the telephone system, i get those calls all the time also. on the surface it sounds like a good idea. whole idea of collecting metadata, collecting everybody's , is somethingers that has to be debated by the public. it can't be something that the congress and government unilaterally does. those are interesting ideas and i think the congress should look at it. it would be far more useful to thanat with the metadata what they are doing, which isn't very usable. a question --
guest: that is one of the interesting things, what can be done with metadata. i am what is known as a party in this court. tryingin california is to get the government to stop the metadata program. one of the things we argue in that suit is one of the problems of the metadata system is it takes away people's length of assembly. if you are having an antiwar demonstration or a group meeting naacp or aer reason, religious group, the government will be able to know about that
because everybody will be calling in to make a reservation or calling the different groups. that is one of the problems with the metadata program, it gives the government access to whenever anybody is trying to assemble. that is one of the freedoms that america is supposed to be guaranteed, the freedom of assembly without the government interfering. these two suits have come out, , who agreedngton the metadata program is largely unconstitutional. then you have an opposite view in new york. there is a third case that hasn't been decided yet come a which is talking about the first unitarian church against the nsa in the ninth circuit of california. would any of these make it all the way to the supreme court? guest: i think they will all
make it to the supreme court eventually. you have a split between the new york and washington, where the --ifornia judge will decide it is yet to come out. one site is going to lose. in all these cases, the losing side will go to the appeals court in the losing side in the appeals court will eventually go to the supreme court, where it will take one of the cases or all of the cases and try to make a decision on it. we are talking at least a year or more for that. it is working its way through the court system. we have 20 minutes left with james bamford as we discussed the intelligence and surveillance reforms the president announced yesterday. in this segment we also have a line for folks outside of the u.s.. we would love to hear their responses to the president's speech.
also have our line for independents, democrats, and republicans. on our independent line, daniel is waiting from pennsylvania. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. , my wonder is is the security company now in the united states or is it in israel? ihere was another israel security company that works with the nsa. do you have any thoughts on that? h, i wrote about those areas in "the shadow factory," my last book. i think what the gentleman is --erring to is one the nsa when the nsa began this whole of monitoring
communications in the united states it built secret rooms in these telecom companies, like at&t. -- like at&t, where the communications summoned to the united states and would be diverted into the secret rooms would comeations into the united states and would be diverted into these secret rooms. israelny was formed in that had an office in california . the nsa purchased their equipment and put it in these secret rooms, which leads a lot of people to wonder whether there would be any connection to israeli intelligence. the company had been in israel at one time. those are concerns. this is software made by a
company and some hardware where all the communications are passing through. it is a serious concern in -- and sun. the company was recently bought by boeing -- serious concern. the company was recently bought by boeing. when you are having companies foreign from -- companies that are involved with u.s. surveillance, that is something people should be concerned about. host: go back to the specific proposals the president announced yesterday it how much of a pushback you think the white house is going to receive from foreign and intelligent community members as he tries to move forward with some of these plans? guest: i think he has received a lot of pushback from them ever since the panel report came out. the panel report was very much dash coming down
on the side of civil -- comingns -- on the down on the side of civil libertarians. the former deputy director of the cia, the former counterterrorism czar, they all came to the same conclusion. these areas should be reformed. -- but ate same time the same time the white house has been getting pushback from the nsa director, keith director -- and as a keith alexander -- nsa director and intelligence director. that is why you see the withtics of this proposal
a lot of leeway and loopholes that could be modified very easily to bring the system back to the way it always was. henry is waiting in michigan on our line for independents. hugh are on with james bamford. -- you are on with james bamford. james's main function is to write conspiracy theory books. has ever charged me with coming out with a conspiracy theory. there are a lot of facts or just want to correct you. hader: excuse me, you have your turn to talk for quite some time. i would like to have mine. feedswrites books that kiddie porn watchers --
host: i'm going to cut you off right there. we will move onto the next caller. caller: good morning, c-span is a national treasure. i would like to take some time onmr. bamford's assertion spies doing it for money. they do it for money but they also do it for ideological reasons. mr. snowden offered to sell some of his documents to places like brazil for asylum. maybe he is a spy or traitor. calling mr. snowden a whistleblower is a throwback. in addition to the metadata --ction efforts of the nsa
metadata collection efforts of he also revealed programs that have nothing to do with the rights and privacy's of domestic americans. this man is a traitor. i go back to my definition, he is a whistleblower because he released this information to the press. you make them public, that makes you a whistleblower, not a spy. the fact we had the president come out yesterday and say that this debate will make us havingr, we would not be this debate without his revelations. edward snowden did not release a lot of this information, he gave them to a journalist. the journalist took a look at the documents, decided what should be and shouldn't be
released and released only that information that had to do with nsau.s.'s involvement on spying on -- on the u.s. it -- on the nsa spying on u.s. citizens. that is the way whistleblowing works i. there at the nsa every day and every night and decide what to take. he took a lot of material out and turned them over to a journalist organization, sort of an impartial group that did a review to see if there was anything that would be damaging. we looked through the pentagon ended a war we
shouldn't have been in sooner. president obama said this is making the country stronger. i disagree he is a spy. believe he is a whistleblower, according to the normal definition of whistleblowing. what you think happens to snowden? he had a one-year asylum in russia. what are his options when that year runs out? very limited options. he can ask for another year or for permanent asylum. only in russia because the united states put him in russia. kong with a ticket going to ecuador. , he had left hong kong to change -- hong kong he had to change flights in moscow.
the government canceled his passport. he had no valid travel documents. that is why he was in the airport for so long. fly out ofs to moscow was impossible because the u.s. forbid any planes from flying over the european territory. they got the european governments to cooperate. the presidenten of bolivia tried to fly back government would not let the plane fly because the u.s. said snowden was on the president's plane, the president of olivia's plane. ofy forced -- the president olivia's plane. of bolivia's plane. that is why he is where he is.
he did not plan to go to moscow in the first place. a caller in jefferson on our line for independents. caller: thank you for taking my call and for what you do. for thehave a question folks who are tea party conservatives. we have been called jihadist's, racists, and i wonder if anybody expects us to believe that we are not being listened to. when i hear from the president that we are just listening to terrorists and looking for do people expect we are not being listened to?
i heard a comment mentioned .esterday mr. obama said he wanted to give more oversight to the executive branch. poweropinion that is more to someone who is abusing the power now. in terms of oversight of the u.s. government, that is the problem i have seen all along. there's too little oversight. with the tea party, it is interesting because a lot of the tea party people are agreeing with the liberals on this issue in terms of the overreach of government power and eavesdropping and so forth. principle is that the government should not have as much power as it has.
there is a fair amount of --eement between tea party real conservatives, not just republicans but real conservatives -- and liberals on the whole issue of this warrantless eavesdropping, nsa spying, and so forth. example, the court case here in washington were judge leon made the decision, the plaintiff a verycase was conservative scientist. the judge himself was very conservative. conservative. the judge himself was very conservative, he was appointed by george bush. coming together, to some degree, of true conservatives the liberal people are looking
for less government in terms of eavesdropping. people are coming together on this issue. host: a couple of tweets for you. we need more people with a conscience like you. keep up the good work grid ray right in that the nsa did not comport with the fourth amendment. can i ask you about the history on the subject? president obama said that he maintained a healthy skepticism for surveillance programs. does the evidence bear that out? guest: yes. that is what is so interesting. there are two obamas here. the obama, the candidate grid obama, the president. saidhe was running, he that he did know one expansion of the nsa. . companiesthe telecom
to warn about this wiretapping program. that fell in line with his ideology. he took withthat him to his career. that is the ideal lot -- ideology that a lot of people are following. he changed as soon as he became president. all of a sudden, he basically went to the right of george bush on a lot of these issues. first of all, he tripled the number of forces in afghanistan. he could have ended it in the first six months. he continued the war for his two terms. he increased the drone war. the bush administration only had one attack in yemen. he increased that enormously. on national security, he let the nsa do whatever they wanted. that is completely